Your home's heating and cooling systems may be behind the scenes, but they influence your happiness at home as much or more than a cozy couch and well-painted walls. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, you don't want to be too cold or too hot.
To stay in the ideal temperature zone, you adjust the thermostat to your comfort level. But do you worry how those adjustments affect your monthly heating and cooling costs? Maybe you've been shivering or sweating to save a few dollars. Or, perhaps you feel like you're paying too much to maintain the perfect temperature.
The solution to your heating and cooling bill problems could be a high-tech thermostat. Examine the latest thermostat features, their effect on your utility bill, and your installation options.
The Latest Features
Programmable thermostats have been available for years. Since their introduction, programmable thermostats have made big improvements to a manual thermostat's basic features. Now, every few years programmable thermostats get helpful new features. Even homes with older programmable thermostats may be due for an upgrade.
Here are the latest features to look for when you upgrade your home's thermostat:
Backlit touchpad controls.
This feature makes your home feel one step closer to the Jetsons' futuristic dwelling. Sure, touchscreen controls seem commonplace since the rise of tablets and smartphones, but they're a major upgrade from the manual thermostats you grew up with.
Some consumers worry they won't know how to navigate a high-tech thermostat's menus and features to make the adjustments they want. That's no problem with voice-controlled programming, which allows you to literally tell the thermostat what you want. The thermostat adjusts without you touching a button.
Does it feel like changing your furnace's air filter is just one more item on your to-do list, one you typically forget? A high-tech thermostat can remind you about replacing air filters and other important maintenance. It won't entirely replace annual maintenance checks from an HVAC professional, but it will keep track of the small stuff.
Your smart thermostat can also sense a problem with your heating or cooling system right away. Unlike a manual thermostat, it can chime or beep to let you know about the malfunction. Then you can ask a professional for help before the problem gets worse.
Many extra-techy thermostats synch with your home's wireless Internet connection. By downloading an app, you can control them from your smartphone or tablet. That gives you remote access from your recliner, your bed, your office, or your vacation.
The latest thermostats to hit the market require little to no programming from the homeowner. Instead, these thermostats track your temperature preferences and notice when you are home or not. Then, they adjust the temperature accordingly to keep you comfy when you're home and to save you money when you're not.
The Money-Saving Effects
A new thermostat can potentially save you money and energy, but many homeowners are wary of a smart thermostat because of the initial price. However, most high-tech thermostats cost only a few hundred dollars. You can expect to save about that much on your utility bill in just one year.
To ensure your savings, follow these rules for efficient operation:
Program your new thermostat as soon as possible after installation. Live with the settings for a few days, then make adjustments to finalize the settings.
Avoid adjusting the thermostat more than a few degrees up or down. Cranking it up will not heat your home faster.
Change the batteries annually, if your thermostat has them.
The Pros of a Professional Installation
The more high-tech your new thermostat is, the more difficult it will be to install. For a straight replacement, you might be able to remove the old unit and attach the new one without too much trouble—just don't expect it to be a quick setup out of the box like a laptop or video game system.
In most cases, you'll probably save yourself a lot of headache if you opt for a professional installation from EZ Plumbing. For example, the Energy Star experts recommend calling in an HVAC professional for anything beyond a simple replacement. Say you want to put your new thermostat in a more convenient location, or install several thermostats around your home. Let a professional can handle those significant upgrades, eliminating stress and danger for you.
Sometimes older thermostats have potentially dangerous parts, such as mercury switches and tubes. If broken, these mercury-containing parts could release toxic vapours. People who suspect their old manual thermostat contains mercury should ask a professional to complete the thermostat replacement.
Finally, some high-tech thermostats must be connected to your home's electrical wiring. Those hook-ups tend to be technical, so put them in the hands of a professional.
These high-tech thermostat features allow you to enjoy a comfortable home whenever you're home. Plus, a smart thermostat improves your home's energy efficiency, which can save you money every month on your utility bill.
Is it time to upgrade your home's thermostat system and step into the 21st century? Contact our professional at EZ Plumbing for high-tech thermostat recommendations and installation help.